RNLI tests out helicopter

PUBLISHED: 13:10 18 January 2012

The helicopter lands at The Oak Tree field, in Edithmead.

The helicopter lands at The Oak Tree field, in Edithmead.

Mike Lang

BURNHAM RNLI volunteers have tested out a night-time helicopter for the first time and completed a successful exercise.

The helicopter, a Sea King from RAF Chivenor, landed at The Oak Tree Arena in Edithmead. The aircrew was ferried to Burnham lifeboat station for a briefing before taking part in their first ever night-time exercise with Burnham lifeboats.

It was a successful evening, with the Burnham coastguard team manning the night-time landing site and the Bridgwater pilot crew liaised with the RNLI.

The exercise lasted for around 90 minutes, with all the lifeboat crew members being lifted and transferred a number of times. One of the crew members, who acted as a casualty, was collected by a lifeboat.

And a bonus for the coastguard rescue team was the extra training in preparing the helicopter landing site at the arena.

Helicopter transfers are potentially hazardous to boat and helicopter crews, so regular training is essential. There is also an extended risk of night-time transfers and training is only ever carried out in ideal conditions, observing strict safety protocol.

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